Monday, November 13, 2006

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts


When I think about kinship that I have encountered in the blogosphere, one of the first that comes to mind is that which I feel with the Ramblings of a Lexington Parrothead. This site's blogmeister, Beach Bum, and I share a common fate: our mates are not bloggers but TeeVee heads; while we surf the Net, they are channel surfing.

Thinking of Kinship, I also think of Pekka, who has taken my back in these pages as well as on other sites; but because of the topic I've chosen today, I may alienate him somewhat - he is sudden death on spectator sports.

Thinking further of kinship, I think of Lil'Bill who has persevered against overwhelming odds to get me to watch one political program or another on TV: Bill does not accept my protestations, that if I ever watch TV, it would be to escape politics, not to roil further in its dirty swamps than I already do on the Internet.

The closest I came to TV in previous years was when I would sometimes sleepily indulge a hour of West Wing. The only
current exceptions have been brief midnight segments of C-SPAN while I'm maintaining a vigil with my prowling Dobbie, RedOct.

But the unexpected has happened: I have discovered a TV home during which I can actually share the couch in 'the dark room' with Trophy Wife and not fall asleep. Together we have discovered a veritable trifecta of escapist TV!

Friday Night Lights is it: an electrifying and riveting hour show centering around the fictional small Texas town of Dillon and its Panther High School football team. This show has a perfectly cast cast which keeps the ball rolling in small town romances, feuds, scandals, crimes, betrayals, fights and - yes - politics. 'Lights' raises innumerable troubling questions about life in small towns, big high schools and their obsessions with scholastic sports. At the same time it refrains from supplying easy answers.

The politics is subliminal. Not exactly surprising because football is the moral equivalent of war. The Washington Post's Tom Shales describes 'Lights' as
the "Platoon" of high school football -- the story of the embattled infantry as well as of the officers in the field, reverberant with metaphorical and microcosmic echoes.
One of the most poignant of many poignant subplots has to do with the season's starting quarterback sustaining a career ending spinal cord injury - forcing the Dillon community to deal with problems not far from the issues with which our contemporary America will have to deal. Head Coach Taylor wrestles with the community's political forces as he tries to steer his team through the treacherous and morally ambiguous turf to victory each Friday. He is not always successful, and his hands are not always spiffy-clean. If we are not, his team is certainly oblivious to his inner conflicts, self-doubts and private demons. When civic life stops still midday Friday, Dillon's denizens only hear Coach's motivating cry "Clear eyes, full hearts". I feel it's an exonerating escape from our real world.

So, My wife and I TiVO the Dillon Panthers on Tuesday nights so we can watch it Friday nights! My next door neighbor claims Friday Night Lights is a hyperbolically inaccurate portrayal of high school sports.

Because he's an authority, I just say I watch it because it's really about politics.

13 Moderated Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll check it out! I have indeed been wondering why Friday Night Lights is not aired on Friday nights...

You should also check out Heroes on Mondays. That and "Lost" are my two Appointment TV events.

11/14/2006 02:46:00 AM  
Blogger DB Cooper said...

Clear eyes, full heart? Is this not nostalgia of the briefest sort? The way life was before Iraq?

11/14/2006 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

The funny thing about my mate's viewing habits is her selection. Lost, which I also enjoy, is one thing but her interest in Celebrity Fit Club on the "E" channel just completely blows my mind. Dragonwife is a highly educated tax attorney and why she finds that worth viewing is beyond me. My favorites are anytype of documentary from science to history. But I caught a few episodes of Friday Night Lights and while I did basketball in high school several of the situations bring back memories.
E, do you think Sawyer will back when Lost returns?
Side note, my mom is very ill and I may be AWOL for a while if she she takes another downtown.

11/14/2006 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger the WIZARD, fkap said...

I believe the quality of televison at its "best" has improved so very much.... combined with the magic of TiVO we can now get to watch those few great shows on our schedule.

"Friday Night Lights" on Tuesday nights? Clearly the network exec's lack clear eyes, full hearts and half a brain.

I would be terribly remiss if I didn't add Battlestar Gallactica to the "must see" list being posted here. If you're not watching, I urge you to add it to your TiVo list (Friday nights on SciFi).

the Wizard.....

11/14/2006 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

As long as someone confessed first, Battlestar is the other drama that I can not miss. It is amazing that they took that 70's stepchild of Star Wars and made it one of the best shows on TV.

11/14/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger MadMike said...

vigil I will watch it based on your recommendation although I have no use for football.

11/15/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Soros' Proxy said...

Mr. Mad, I think the point is that this series is not just about football.

11/15/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Urbanpink said...

I checked out the show, I highly recommend it. Annoyed at first by the moving cam, but soon settled in to the believable characters. Saw many themes about personal vs. civil responsibility. Particularly struck by the football coach's lack of loyalty to and verbal abuse of his players (especially the one's in need). Strikes me as very true to small town life--people imagine that there's more of a sense of community, but my experience was a small population of lonely, distrustful, emotionally unhealthy people who hurt each other in myriad ways (but this is often our western, modern condition anywhere--luckily I found a few elderly folks to be peaceful and loving towards others). I'm considering whether the show unfairly exploits the high school girlfriend/women for ratings. Other than steroids, I don't see much difference between issues I dealt with 20 years ago as a teenager and what the show covers now.

11/15/2006 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Blogging4Food said...

Watch this, football fans!

11/16/2006 06:27:00 AM  
Anonymous pekka said...

Although, I am going to at least touch the subjet/s rised by Vigil, I feel that I should tell you about my bad trip that I am slowly coming out of.

The great creator, Sun god, or what ever the hell it is that one digs, didn't give me many talents to show off except that I can sleep anywhere and anytime. For the various reasons, however, this ability has vained to the point that I had to try a chemically induced slumber the first time.

I was prescribed stuff - Mirtazapine - by a nice man with a stetoscope hanging around his neck, and he assured that the drug has no addictive qualities. Turns out, that the good doctor was bang on. I will never use it again! I been in an almost constant coma with a hellish nausea the past 48 hours and even now my walk resembles that of a drunken sailor. There is not one furniture in my place that I haven't collided with and I have wounds to prove.

I am still feeling like , I suppose, Rummy and Big Dick must be feeling; not too damn hot.

Thus just shortly; I don't hate spectator sports as such. I hate when the sport itself becomes a footnote and all the nationalist flagwaving and rest of the crap takes over. I hate the gave man mentallity of the European futbol skin head neo-Nazis. I am just starting to understand the basics of the North American football and I love to watch it, providing I don't have anything better to do, such as washing the dishes or peeling the grapes for my darling who's also a TV-head.

This has to be it, Vigil, since I feel the next brain convulsion coming. Sorry, if I sound more idiotic than usual! Talk to you soon.

11/16/2006 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

You neglected to leave the name of the physician, Pekka. Sounds like he's dishing out what I need. Hope you feel better tomorrow! Without demons! Peace be with you.

11/16/2006 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

May 'Lights' shine bright

NBC's `Friday Night Lights' is real and dramatically different. Maybe it can succeed anyway.

12/04/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Excellent review of cast at the end of Friday Night Light's first season; hopefully the first among many!

3/29/2007 05:36:00 PM  

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